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Let's discuss the tilting Yokohama condo scandal

This week’s featured article

TOMOKO OTAKE, THE JAPAN TIMES

An Asahi Kasei Construction Materials Corp. employee at the center of a data falsification scandal involving a tilting condo in Yokohama oversaw the firm’s piling work at 41 projects in nine prefectures over the past decade.

The company, currently in hot water over defective piling work at the Park City Lala Yokohama condominium, released the breakdown and category of 3,040 buildings it has worked on since 2005. The list shows the buildings included not only condos but also schools, hospitals and offices. The buildings are located in 45 of the 47 prefectures.

In a news conference, Asahi Kasei Construction Materials said it would investigate whether data falsification similar to that at the Yokohama condo had been committed at all 3,040 buildings. It declined to release the building names.

The firm has said that the data falsification affected 70 foundation piles out of 473 used for the construction of the Yokohama complex, which was completed in 2007.

Of them, six are believed to not have reached solid ground, called the support layer, and two were not driven deep enough into the layer, apparently leading to one of the four buildings in Yokohama developing a lean.

According to parent Asahi Kasei Corp., the employee, who held a key on-site position in the piling work for the Yokohama complex, has admitted to falsifying data. But the man has argued that he thought all the pilings reached bedrock, and that data were fabricated not to hide insufficient work but to make up for missing data records. The man’s work was concentrated in Aichi Prefecture, where he handled piling work for 23 projects.

Asahi Kasei said it was launching an independent investigative panel comprising lawyers with no connection to the firm.

The parent company is examining the data falsification through an in-house panel, but the panel may not be able to release the outcome by year-end as expected, sources said.

First published in The Japan Times on Oct. 23.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “my home.”

Game

Collect words related to apartments, e.g., room, family, park.

New words

1) falsification: making a thing appear like something it is not; e.g., “The scandal involves the falsification of documents.”

2) tilt: to lean/incline; e.g., “She tilts her head when she speaks.”

3) fabricate: to make up something; e.g., “The police fabricated the evidence to make the suspect appear guilty.”

Guess the headline

A_ _ _ _ K_ _ _ _ subsidiary worker linked to leaning Y_ _ _ _ _ _ _ condo handled 41 projects over 10 years, firm reveals

Questions

1) How many buildings are suspected of having had their data falsified?

2) What was the problem with the construction of the Yokohama complex?

3) What will Asahi Kasei do to address the problem?

Let’s discuss the article

1) How did you come to choose your current home?

2) What is the most important point for you when it comes to choosing your house/apartment?

3) What would you do if you were told that your home had to be rebuilt?

Reference

家を買う事は多くの人にとって大きなイベントです。その買い物に不備がある、欠陥品であると言われたら、どうするでしょう。簡単に買い替えられる金額ではありませんし、職場、学校等など生活に関わる問題が山とあります。

建築に関して購入者が購入を決める際に下請け業者まで調べる事はほとんどなく、大手販売会社による家だという安心感は大きな決定打になったに違いありません。

今回の事件は、個人での品質確認に限界がある住宅購入というイベントに対して大きなショックを与えました。

これからは大手だからと安心せず、自己責任で家を見極めるしかないのでしょうか。 家という、生活の基本となる場を揺るがしたこの問題はしばらく収まりそうにありません。

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